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Two Israelis stabbed in Jerusalem attack as Blinken flies in

Tension remains high in Israeli capital

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WILMINGTON, DE November 24, 2020: Antony Blinken on stage during President- elect Joe Biden introduction of his cabinet member nominees at the Queen in Wilmington, DE on November 24, 2020. The President- elect along with Vice President- elect Kamala D. Harris introduced Antony Blinken for Secretary of State, Alejandro Mayorkas for Secretary of Homeland Security, Avril Haines for Director of National Intelligence, Linda Thomas-Greenfield for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Jake Sullivan as National Security Adviser, and John Kerry as Special Presidential Envoy for Climate. (Photo by Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Two Israelis are in hospital with multiple stab wounds, after an attack in Jerusalem which only ended when the terrorist was shot dead. 

The victims, a soldier and a civilian aged 21 and 23 respectively are at Hadassah Medical centre, in moderate condition.

Yechiel Stern, a paramedic from the United Hatzalah organisation who arrived minutes after the attack said:"The two injured people were suffering stab wounds to their upper torso and they were in moderate condition. I treated them at the scene for their injuries, after which they were transported to hospital.”

The attack highlights the fact that while the Gaza border has fallen quiet, frictions remain high in Jerusalem — and that terrorist groups continue to aim at Israeli targets there . Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh promised after the ceasefire started that he will continue “fighting for Jerusalem.” 

Tensions in the city will be high on the agenda of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has just taken off for a visit to Israel, the West Bank, Egypt and Jordan. He is due to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at 10am local time tomorrow and is expected to discuss the how the Gaza ceasefire can be strengthened and to encourage Mr Netanyahu to consider restarting peace talks with the Palestinian Authority. 

As the international community anxiously monitors the security situation it is also paying increased attention to the phenomenon of antisemitic backlash following the Gaza conflict. “The recent attacks on the Jewish community are despicable and they must stop,” said US President Joe Biden today. “I condemn this hateful behaviour at home and abroad — it’s up to all of us to give hate no safe harbour.”

The third highest-ranked US elected official, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has also voiced concerns. “The recent spike in antisemitic attacks against Jews around the country and the world is horrific, heartbreaking and demands action,” she stated. 

Today in Israel, opposition leader Yair Lapid unleashed a stinging attack on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his alleged mismanagement of the security crisis. Yesh Atid party leader Mr Lapid, who is enjoying increased popularity according to polls following the crisis, has been tasked by President Reuven Rivlin to form a government to replace Mr Netanyahu’s. 

He acknowledged that the odds are stacked against him succeeding but will “leave no stone unturned,” he said. 

“If you want to know why then just look at the last three weeks,” he stated. “The tragedy at Mount Meron, the disaster in Givat Ze'ev, the riots on the Temple Mount, the loss of control on the streets of mixed Arab-Jewish towns.” 

He said: “Look at how Netanyahu went into the campaign in Gaza. The army, the security services, the Minister of Defense, did everything expected of them and more when faced with the evil terrorism of Hamas. The Prime Minister failed spectacularly. 

“His government went into the operation without a strategy, without a functioning public diplomacy operation, without proper shelters for the citizens of the south, without a diplomatic vision and like always, without taking any responsibility.

“Look at Israeli society, at the internal discourse, at the way Israelis talk about one another and to one another. It doesn't come from the bottom, it comes from the top. From a leadership that divides us and hurts us.”

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